Ernesto Villarreal became Executive Director of Latin Americans United for Progress in February 2018. Before accepting a position at LAUP, Ernesto worked extensively in higher education serving students and families. Ernesto has lived and worked in Holland, MI since 2014.

A Texas native, born to a family with two parents of Mexican citizenship, Ernesto grew up as a child of two worlds, living in the border town of Brownsville, TX. He studied at Abilene Christian University for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees: B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies in Youth Ministry and Spanish, and an M.Ed. in Higher Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs.

Ernesto has 11 years of experience working in higher education settings serving students and families at colleges in Texas, Tennessee, and Michigan. From 2013-2018, Ernesto worked at Hope College as the Assistant Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. While Assistant Director at Hope College, he was Chair of the Planning Committee for the LAUP Youth Leadership Conference (2016, 2017). He also sat on the Board of Directors for the Tulipanes Festival from 2013-2015.

Ernesto has experience in building collaboration across sectors to support student success and is excited to employ those skills at LAUP. Ernesto’s goal as Executive Director of LAUP is to establish LAUP as the premiere resource for honoring Latino culture, driving community improvement, and empowering Latino leaders. He is also excited to oversee the continuing growth of LAUP’s youth programming and increasing opportunities for educational success in our community.